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Wednesday
Jun292011

Souvenirs of Canada

[Image: The Textile Museum of Canada]

Canada Day is Friday. The Textile Museum of Canada is celebrating with a show called Cold Comfort: New and Improved Souvenirs of Canada. A collaboration with Kitchener's DodoLab, the exhibition showcases the TMC's collection of the TMC's  souvenir pillows (like the one made of tobacco silks pictured above) alongside new works created by DodoLab and museum visitors.

[images via: Otsiningo Beadwork Exhibit]

These pillowy treasures got us thinking about even older Canadiana, specifically Haudenosaunee beadwork purses and pincushions. These beautiful souvenirs began to appear not long after Loyalist Mohawk troups resettled in Canada after the American Revolutionary War. Haudenosaunee from both sides of the border found themselves living on reservations, cut off from their traditional land and way of life. The communities sought out new ways to make a living, and the women began making souvenir beadwork.

Most of it was sold around Niagara Falls but examples that bear the names of towns like Toronto and Montreal can also be found. Contemporary sewers still create stunning beadwork, but we have a soft spot for the sentimental Victorian versions.

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